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NJ Star Ledger: Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk

Chris Christie endorsement is regrettable: Moran – This is not about who we like better. Christie has boycotted the editorial board for years, an attempt to bully us into more loving coverage. So we’ve had a front-row view of what a creep he can be. Buono is the more likable person by far.

During the fall campaign, the liberal TV hero Rachel Maddow ran a stinging segment ridiculing The Star-Ledger’s endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie. How could we endorse him, she asked, when we criticized him so harshly in the same piece? Had we lost our minds?

Not quite. An endorsement is not a love embrace. It is a choice between two flawed human beings. And the winner is often the less bad option.

But yes, we blew this one. When the endorsement ran, I could not get a cup of coffee in the People’s Republic of Montclair without my liberal friends taunting me. Back then, I pushed back.

Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Even before this scandal train got rolling, this endorsement was a close call and a split vote among the editorial board. We regard Christie as the most overrated politician in the country, at least until now, a man who is better at talking than governing. We criticized him for trashing the working poor, for his tea party approach to the environment, for his opposition to gay marriage and a livable minimum wage. And so on.

But there is more to it. Christie has made good progress on education with a focus on struggling cities, especially Newark and Camden. His pension and health reforms helped contain public costs that were spiralling out of control.

And let’s not forget his opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono. She was not up to the job of being governor — even in the view of many Democrats. She got the party’s nomination because more credible candidates, including Cory Booker, backed out in the face of Christie’s strength.

Read more at the New Jersey Star Ledger

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